Hi 25° | Lo 17°
Campaign Monitor

Ballot Law Commission: Republican Havenstein is eligible to run for governor

Walt Havenstein (center) talks with supporters in Concord last month.

Walt Havenstein (center) talks with supporters in Concord last month.

Republican Walt Havenstein is eligible to run for governor, the state Ballot Law Commission ruled yesterday. The 3-2 ruling cementing Havenstein’s eligibility quashes an argument Democrats have been making for months that Havenstein didn’t meet the seven-year inhabitancy requirement because he owned a condo and lived part time in Maryland for work from 2007 to 2012.

“I’m delighted with this outcome and excited once again to get out on the campaign trail,” Havenstein said after the ruling was issued. “We’ve been saying this all along, that I was eligible, so this is a bit of vindication more than anything else.”

Democrats, however, said voters will still have questions for Havenstein.

“Very soon Havenstein is going to find out that getting on the ballot was the easy part – he’s going to have far more difficulty trying to explain away his record of failed leadership, mismanagement, and his anti-middle class agenda that would take our state in the wrong direction,” party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement.

Havenstein will face entrepreneur Andrew Hemingway in the Sept. 9 primary for the right to challenge Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat.

Havenstein and his wife, Judy, moved to Bedford in 1999 and then to Alton where they built a home in 2004. From 2007 to 2012, Havenstein owned a condo in Maryland while working for BAE Systems Inc. and later Science Applications International Corporation, which are both contractors for the Department of Defense. Havenstein’s attorney argued yesterday morning that Havenstein’s Maryland residence was part time and temporary, meaning Havenstein never gave up his domicile here. Havenstein and his wife have owned property, voted and filed taxes here since 1999. He did use his Maryland address on his 2007 tax return but said it was an error from using TurboTax.

New Hampshire law states someone must be an inhabitant of New Hampshire for the seven years prior to running for governor. Judy Havenstein lived in New Hampshire for most of the year while Walt Havenstein was away, he said, and he always considered it his primary home and place of domicile.

“The suggestion that somehow, by having a temporary, very spartan apartment for work purposes in another state . . . divests you of a domicile in New Hampshire is just untenable and at a certain point unfair,” Havenstein’s lawyer, David Vicinanzo, said in his closing arguments.

Greg Ahlgren, the lawyer for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, argued that Havenstein gave up his domicile in New Hampshire when he chose to take a job with SAIC in 2009 after leaving BAE Systems instead of returning to New Hampshire. The Havensteins’ decision to buy a condo in North Carolina in 2012 and spend several months there after he left SAIC further cemented that they had given up their domicile, he argued.

Democrats have also been pointing to a tax credit Havenstein received on his Maryland condo designed for “principal residents” as evidence that Maryland was his primary home. Vicinanzo, however, argued that Havenstein was entitled to the break under Maryland law.

The tax is designed for anyone who spends seven out of 12 months of the year at the residence, which Havenstein said he did. Vicinanzo said the credit automatically appeared on Havenstein’s tax bill in 2008 and that he was not required to formally apply for it until a date in 2012 that came after he sold the condo. Documents provided by Havenstein show he did sign a form declaring the condo his principal residence when he purchased it in 2007.

Despite the ruling, the state Democratic Party said Havenstein’s actions won’t sit well with voters.

“The taxpayers of Maryland will obviously want their money back and the people of New Hampshire are going to have a hard time understanding why someone who claims he wants to lead the Granite State was spending the majority of his year in another state,” Buckley said.

Hemingway’s campaign manager, Alicia Preston, said he is eager to show voters the “clear difference” between himself and Havenstein. Hemingway has started small businesses here and worked in local political circles, and Havenstein has made several comments that demonstrate his limited understanding of New Hampshire law, Preston said.

“These and many other examples show that it’s not the years of experience that matter, it’s the kind of experience. It’s the kind of experience Andrew Hemingway has and we look forward to demonstrating that,” she said in a statement.

Of the Ballot Law Commission’s five members, both the speaker of the House and the Senate president appoint two members, one from each political party. The fifth member is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Executive Council, and is supposed to have expertise in election law.

Republicans Michael Eaton and Brad Cook as well as Democrat Martha Van Oot voted in Havenstein’s favor. Cook considered running for governor against Hassan but determined last November that he would not. Democrats Donald Manning and Roger Wellington voted against Havenstein. Hassan appointed Wellington to the commission in April.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or or on Twitter @kronayne.)

Legacy Comments15

No one should be surprised Havenstein was found eligible. It seemed like a needless and wasteful effort on the part of the Democrats. He's a credible candidate with an impressive business resume who has a chance in the general election--provided he doesn't pander to the right wing crazies who think of themselves as the real GOP. Based on his take on issues so far, I think the jury is still out on that.

As opposed to what? The Left wing dictatorial bunch in the White House. All of a sudden it is "crazy" to talk about limited government, freedom, liberty, etc. but the norm to allow a President to act like a petulant child because he can't have everything his way. It is apparent that they adults are on the right side, the weak children who never grew up are on the left side.

NH needs a Chief Executive that has actually made tough decisions before. Since democrat Shaheen was elected democrat professional politicians have doubled the state budget. This year they have raised taxes again and again. Any simpleton LIDV can run the state taxing us to death - It takes a decision maker to run the state with what you have.

It's all academic at this point. Havenstein made a critical error upon accepting Craig Benson's support. Walt should've politely declined. CB's gubernatorial admin is set in stone as a major "oops" on the part of NH voters. Benson was almost bad enough as governor to make the AARP/Bingo Card wielding set reflect upon 'three-term Mel' with teary-eyed affection. Yeah, I'll have ten more of those Paper Specials there, Thelma! See, I still got some ink in my blotter.

You are correct, his goose is cooked. He can not and will not beat al-Hassan. In fact I may vote for her this time. She has proven to be somewhat trustworthy. I hate her social stands but overall she has been even handed.

Really who really cares anymore, given the slate of real native NH republicans that are available. The bigger question is why would we want him anyway. Another Craig Benson or should I say Craig who? Near as I can tell his greatest claim to leadership fame, was turning a blind eye, yea right, as his top officers at SAIC perpetrated the single largest fraud against the city of NY. Taking in excess of $500 million in kickbacks and fraud. Several went to jail a few were "reassigned", but the kicker was the government cut a deal where they wouldn't prosecute if SAIC paid a $500 million fine. Shortly after he takes his golden parachute and resigns. No crime, no foul should be his slogan. In any case is this the type of leadership NH needs, a career defense contractor. At least being a retired defense contractor he should be well versed in sticking it to taxpayers.

Thanks Carson. Plus see: and for: " No wonder taxpayers feel the game is rigged. It is rigged, and it does not seem to matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge at the Pentagon. " & " * Take the wimps out of the Pentagon. We need defense officials with the strength of character to tell defense contractors when to get off and where to go. "

Don't say anything bad about Havenstein. He is going to make New Hampshire a great place to live and raise a family.

Thought you'd jump on board when he promised "a chicken in every fortress".

Tillie, that is impossible for Havenstein to even imagine it could be a great place to live until we get the flatlanders, progressives and Concord elitists out of the state.

Thank you Kathleen for pointing out that Alicia Preston of the Benson bunch is involved with this team, that in my opinion reeks with arrogant people who we do not need in high office in this state. When Benson was governor I asked for a pardon in the form of for the State to apologize to me in writing for having a judge within its so-called co-equal Judicial branch of government by Article 72-a keep me in jail for Rule 95-b indirect criminal "contempt of court" past the limit of ten (10) days by Articles 22+23 of the N.H. Constitution, Part the Second, on a real estate case, but that all Gov. Craig R. Benson* did was NO check and balance, but took the votes of the Executive Council creeps in office then including Peter Spaulding to think that it was some vote when in reality it is an advisement. Spaulding's comment being that I was supposedly against the entire judicial system rather than just that and those corrupt judges deserving of impeachments, as Spaulding was reprimanded so in writing by Dick Bosa, later to become Mayor of Berlin where he was born and grew up, of at the time our V.O.C.A.L.S., Inc. President. - - - - Plus: The same creeps who worked for Shaheen then worked for Lynch, and now Hassan. Who we need in there is thus Hemingway I guess or some Independent or Libertarian. I've offered Hemmingway the opportunity of: What Would You Do? if as governor on the current case #297 at the Merrimack County Superior Court, like to file an Amicus Curiae/ Friend of the Court Brief on this Article 51 power into Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, but all I got back was an e-mail saying that he is considering the matter. Considering like what? Like what the A.G.'s office does on white collar criminals of they do a continual study forever of to never issue any Report! * The Amazing Benson, according to Senator Lou D'Allesandro : " 'This governor came in with everything going for him, and in two years, nothing happened -nothing good happened,' he said. 'It's amazing. Amazing."

The claim that the Havenstein's apartment was "spartan" is ludicrous, although I must admit I don't know how it was decorated. He and his wife paid approximately $1.25 million for it, which even in DC is enough to buy a nice apartment. This was in fact a spacious 2-bedroom condo in a good neighborhood, on the 4th floor of a luxurious building built in 2003.

Oh Democrat Legislator Timothy of Durham, thanks for the $ value of his "Spartan" condo, but that when your associate, Gregory Ahlgren, the lawyer representing the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said Havenstein "Then . . . he WANDERS back to New Hampshire," (emphasis ADDed) that really tells us of how you Democrats think. and A.P. = See also in that Gary = grayno at unionleader dot com did not use this "wander" word, he did write something similar in that: " Greg Ahlgren said Havenstein’s “honest intention (to retain his New Hampshire domicile) is well and good, but he wasn’t here and that is what the people who fought and died in the American Revolution wanted, they wanted their governors here.” " Plus what " KEVIN LANDRIGAN" wrote about at: be hidden on the internet as you've got to subscribe to get that info or head on over to the N.H. State Library, or maybe some subscriber or reader can tell us here?

the LIDV's must be so proud of democratic party chairman Ray Buckley..... he has learned to be more obnoxious that Kathy Sullivan.. CONGRATS TO WALT !!!!

huh...the armchair liberal QB's were wrong..

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.